Athletes are now one step closer to the dream of winning a medal at next summer’s Games as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medals go into production, at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales.
The Royal Mint has brought together a specially selected team of Royal Mint designers, technicians and craftsmen who have been testing and refining the minting process to ensure every medal produced meets highly exacting specifications.
They will produce around 4,700 medals which will be awarded during the 805 Victory Ceremonies taking place at venues across the UK during the Games.
Taking around ten hours in total to complete, each medal will be struck fifteen times with 900 tonnes of weight on a special press. After each first five strikes the medals are slowly rolled through a 750 degree furnace to soften the metal allowing the designs to be replicated perfectly.
The designs for both the Olympic and Paralympic medals were unveiled earlier this year. The Olympic medals have been designed by British artist David Watkins and the Paralympic medals by practising Jewellery artist and senior lecturer in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design, Lin Cheung.
Paul Deighton, LOCOG CEO, said: ‘It’s great to see businesses across the UK benefiting from the Games and I’m absolutely delighted that the Olympic and Paralympic medals for the Victory Ceremonies are being made in South Wales.’
Adam Lawrence, Royal Mint Chief Executive, said: ‘We are immensely proud and honoured to be able to strike the Olympic and Paralympic medals. More than 800 local people are employed by the Royal Mint, and now each one will be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they – and South Wales – had a hand in creating a piece of Olympic history.’
The ore for the medals is supplied by London 2012 sponsor Rio Tinto and is mined at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper Mine near Salt Lake City in America, as well as from the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.